Today let’s look at two whiskies from The Macallan — one a revisit to a classic bottling, the other a new release available only as a limited edition.
The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Years Old (2017) – Last encountered in 2009. This is still a sherry bomb, through and through, and it will please any die-hard Macallan nut in the family, though it’s now coming across as a bit heavy on the wine barrel influence, even for me. The nose is very pungent, consisting of nothing but orange oil, furniture polish, and oily roasted nuts, with just a touch of raw wood. The palate doubles down on all of the above, giving a chewy texture to the oil and citrus notes, but digging deeper to find some notes of eucalyptus, tobacco, and a dusty wood character that is more fully developed on the finish. On the whole it’s a bit of a one-note whisky, the sherry really having its way with what can (and often is) a more delicate experience. 86 proof. B / $200
The Macallan Classic Cut – This release of 90,000 bottles is the first cask strength Macallan in four years. It’s aged in ex-Oloroso sherry casks and carries no age statement. Lots of wood impacts the nose, with a grainy underbelly thrown into the mix. There’s plenty of austere sherry influence here, though it’s not as overwhelming as in the Sherry Oak 18. On the palate, the whisky is tough, with a heavy focus on well-roasted grain and more of that slightly astringent furniture polish character. Very nutty, with some vegetal notes emerging on the finish. Water helps in coaxing out more sweetness, but this comes alongside a bigger granary character and some notes of burlap — though the marshmallow and caramel that hits on the finish is a nice little bonus. 116.8 proof. B / $89